Duckmanton Tunnel

(Photos 1, 4 & 5 © Ashley Dace)

Under the stewardship of resident engineer Cecil Brown, the Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast Railway started its progress from Chesterfield to Lincoln on 7th June 1892 when ground was broken in the Derbyshire town. But financial and engineering difficulties ensured that no trains travelled between the two for another five years.

From the west, the line climbed at 1:100 as far as the first summit within the 501-yard Duckmanton Tunnel. The eastern portion is on a falling gradient of 1:100. The bore escorted the line beneath Bolehill, the village of Duckmanton being two miles to the north-east. The tunnel is straight, with both its lining and portals fashioned from blue engineering brick, although the parapets are in masonry.

Since closure in 1957, the western approach cutting has been completely obliterated and the tunnel was filled with waste from Arkwright Colliery during the 1970s. A mound of earth plugs and largely obscures the eastern entrance which is situated at the end of a deep, waterlogged cutting. This now acts as a nature reserve.

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